Monday, October 12, 1998 The Halifax Herald Limited

Sierra Club says study proves Frederick St. report flawed


Sydney - An independent study of health concerns of Frederick Street residents has proved an earlier Cantox Environmental Inc. study is flawed, says the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada.

"At this point, it's preliminary conclusions," Elizabeth May said Saturday morning after visiting Frederick Street residents with the details of the independent study. "Basically, (it shows) insufficient reliable data on actual human exposure."

The independent study, commissioned by the Sierra Club, is being conducted through the International Institute for Public Health in Toronto and is being overseen by head reviewer Roger Dixon, she said.

"He believes there has been insufficient direct measurement of airborne toxics to estimate any kind of respiratory exposure.

"What is really lacking in the Cantox study is information on how humans would have been exposed. The Cantox study is all speculation," Ms. May said.

Earlier this year, Cantox Environmental Inc. was hired to conduct a full health assessment in the neighbourhood. An Environment Canada test conducted in July found that the neighbourhood contained higher than acceptable levels of a number of toxins, including arsenic levels 13 times higher than acceptable in a nearby brook and two to three times more polyaromatic hydrocarbons than is acceptable for residential properties.

Dr. Jeff Scott, the chief medical officer for the province, said that based on the test results, residents were not at risk, but issued orders for blood and hair samples of residents to be tested for toxins.

For resident Juanita McKenzie, the early results from the independent study are vindicating.

"We knew that all along," said the resident who has been pressing the provincial government to move residents from the neighbourhood.

"We're not scientists here on Frederick Street, but we knew (the Cantox study) was flawed."

Earlier this year, a yellow substance was discovered oozing from the ground in the neighbourhood, which borders the former coke ovens site at Sydney Steel. Residents say living in the neighbourhood is making them sick and they have complained of sore throats, intestinal upsets and itchy, watery eyes.

Frederick Street consults local lawyer

More Frederick Street

Copyright 1998 The Halifax Herald Limited

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